OSHA guidelines to keep retail workers safe during Black Friday

With Thanksgiving just a few days away, that means Black Friday shopping is also near. Black Friday shopping deals bring massive amounts of shoppers to retail stores. While Black Friday can be exciting and offer great savings, it also increases the risk for workplace accidents and injuries.

The increased risk of workplace injuries and accidents during Black Friday has led OSHA to warn retail companies about the serious risks to workers and what action they should take to prevent injuries. During Black Friday and throughout the holiday season, retail stores see an increase in customers so OSHA has issued guidelines for crowd management.

OSHA recommended that every retail store has a proper crowd management plan to reduce the risk of injuries. They also said that retail workers should be trained to safely manage large crowds of people during the holiday shopping season.

According to OSHA, crowd management plans should include:

  • Trained security or police officers on-site
  • Barricades or rope lines for shoppers that do not start at the entrance of the store
  • Have proper crowd control procedures in place before customers arrive
  • Do not allow additional customers into the store after it has reached maximum occupancy
  • Do not block or lock exit doors
  • Have emergency procedures to address potential dangers

All workers have the right to feel safe at work. OSHA has issued these safety tips for retail stores but that does not mean that every store will follow these guidelines. Workers who are injured at work due to their employer’s negligence are entitled to workers’ compensation benefits under Pennsylvania law.

Source: EHS Today, “OSHA Wants Retailers to Make Black Friday Safer for Workers,” Sandy Smith, Nov. 16, 2012